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becoming greece. >> today, despite the president being in hawaii, the fiscal cliff is still on the agenda. kristen welker is with the president in honolulu. good day to you, kristen. what are you hearing there? >> reporter: alex, good morning to you. white house officials say this is very much a working vacation, no word if president obama has actually spoke on the congressional leaders at this point. i can tell you that conversations are going on at the staff level. but the reality is that the hard work, the final touches probably won't be put on these bills or this bill, rather, that they're hoping to get until lawmakers, the president, return to washington. and of course that won't happen until after the christmas holiday. this has a lot of people worried, alex, because as you say there's not a lot of time left to get a deal done. president obama, house speaker john boehner, were very close to getting a deal. president obama had given a little on entitlement reform, house speaker john boehner had given a lit until terms of agreeing to increase taxes. but they just couldn't get to the f
rate increases, maybe not at 250, but upper rate americans. we accomplished little in not become greece. this won't affect the debt situation. it will be a political victory for the president and i hope we have the courage of what we believe is republicans. hats off to the president, he won. >> reporter: democrats would acknowledge this deal, if there is a deal is smaller in scope and won't do as much for reducing the deficit long term as both sides hoped. the real focus is to focus the most harm on people. not having everyone's taxes going up. there's a lot more involved in it. we have been focused on taxes. we hope to have something that gives a sense of are they close? will they get there? within a couple hours. >> a couple hours. we'll check in with you again. thank you so much. i want to bring in a fiscal policy reporter, laura montgomery as well as political writer for "the new york times," john harwood. you heard kelly mention some republicans weren't feeling the president's interview on "meet the press" this morning. they took issue with it. from that interview and what you saw
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